Childhood nutrition and labor market outcomes: Evidence from a school breakfast program
New published paper by Aline Bütikofer, Eirin Mølland and Kjell G. Salvanes, titled "Childhood nutrition and labor market outcomes: Evidence from a school breakfast program" in the Journal of Public Economics.
While a growing literature documents the short-term effects of public programs providing children with nutritious food, there is scarce evidence of the long-term effects of such programs. This paper studies the long-term and intergenerational consequences of access to nutritious food using the rollout of a free school breakfast program in Norwegian cities. This program provided children with nutritious food and replaced a hot school meal at the end of the day with similar caloric value but less micronutrients. Our results indicate that access to a nutritious school breakfast increases education by 0.1 years and earnings by 2–3%. In addition, we present empirical evidence that early exposure is most beneficial, that a longer treatment duration does not yield higher returns, and that the positive effects on men's earnings are transmitted across generations. Our results are mostly robust to adding municipality-specific time trends, event-study models support the validity of the research design, and most estimated effects survive adjustment for multiple hypothesis testing.